On Sunday 08 April 2018 04:23:23 Chris Albertson wrote:

> The kind of PCB I want to make is simple.  Many complex parts can be
> bought on ebay as "breakout boards".   I want to use these breakout
> boards as if they were ICs   In other words I want to replace my
> collection of flying Dupont wires and mini-size solderless breadboards
> with 1970 vintage PCBs Just like the guy in the video.
> Thanks for the lead on pcb2gcode.   From another list I found out
> about "flatCAM".   It is open source linux/mac/windows and convert
> berbers and excellent files to g-code.   see http://flatcam.org   I
> have only looked at it for about 20 minutes.   I will look at
> pcb2gcode too.  thanks
> I've known about eagle and cicada for a long time.   What happened is
> KiCAD picked up funding from CERN and with a paid staff progress was
> fast.   I've decided to move from Eagle too even if I am a big user of
> Fusion 360.
> What tools are used? I mean the cutting tools.  Can I use "normal"
> milling machine spindle RPMs or is a 20,000 RPM router needed?   The
> end mill in the video looks microscopic.
I don't have a high speed spindle, 2500 revs is wide open on the 
micro-mill, it works as well but feed rates are obviously slow, about 
2.5 ipm IIRC. So the whole job is slow. 2 copies of a simple DS board is 
about a 10 hour day. Worse than watching paint dry.

> On Sat, Apr 7, 2018 at 11:00 PM, Lawrence Glaister <ve...@shaw.ca> 
> > Hi Chris,
> >
> > For the PCB milling, I used to use eagle and the pcbgcode plugin for
> > the longest time. Eagle got kind of funky after autocad bought them
> > and is now mostly a subscription service.
> >
> > I now use kicad for the schematic and pcb design and an open source
> > program called pcb2gcode to convert gerbers to gcode files for
> > linuxcnc. I just completed a board I sent off to
> > https://www.seeedstudio.com/fu sion.html for production. Smooth as
> > silk and unbeatable prices. (10 boards 3.8x2.5" for $4.41(March
> > Sale) + shipping).
> >
> > I then designed and milled a small board for a calibration jig and
> > used the pcb2gcode to convert the bottom copper gerber to linuxcnc
> > gcode files. Again, pretty smooth once one gets the isolation and
> > offset parameters figured out.
> >
> > I think kicad is a much superior package to eagle and has no
> > restrictions on boards size or schematic size. As with learning a
> > new cad system, it took a couple of youtube videos and a couple of
> > days of practice, but it really only took a few days to go from
> > nothing to ordering pcbs. Well worth the investment in time. The
> > current kicad V4 release worked the best for me.... I tried V5 from
> > git, but it wasnt quite workable yet. The advantage of V5 is that it
> > will be able to import eagle project schematic and PCB files.
> >
> > I have done quite a few PCBs by milling, and there are a few tricks
> > like using wider traces and trying to keep most surface mount parts
> > and traces on the bottom layer and use the top layer for jumpers and
> > through hole parts to avoid 2 sided milling. One sided pcbs are much
> > less critical to mill as they are milled, drilled and cutout without
> > changing the mounting. This avoids a lot of headaches of trying to
> > get top and bottom layers aligned.
> >
> > cheers
> > Lawrence Glaister VE7IT
> > Nanoose Bay BC, Canada
> >
> > On 2018-04-07 10:05 PM, Chris Albertson wrote:
> >> Is anyone using a CNC mill to make PCBs?  The video linked below
> >> shows someone doing this on a small mill with Mach 3.  The PCB is
> >> certainly not high tech.  The parts are all through hole with 0.1
> >> inch lead pitch and it is one side only.  Right out of the 1970's
> >> but it is exactly what I want to
> >> make.   More complex PCBs can go to oshpark
> >>
> >> Is there a Linux based tool chain?   The part I don't see is how to
> >> convert
> >> Gerber files to g-code files.
> >>
> >> Then what tools work best?  I think three are needed tiny end mill
> >> to route
> >> copper, Tiny spiral mill for cutting the PCB all the way through
> >> and a few micro side drill bits for the through holes.
> >>
> >> BTW it seems like the guy in the video could have saved a lot of
> >> time by using a (fake) ground plane that flooded all the empty
> >> space.  No need to mill all that copper away.
> >>
> >> https://youtu.be/xM8sTEw3OLQ?t=5m41s

Cheers, Gene Heskett
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
 soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
-Ed Howdershelt (Author)
Genes Web page <http://geneslinuxbox.net:6309/gene>

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